Laura’s Psychology Blog

One Professor’s Observations of the World of Psychology….   

July 31, 2011

readings in psychology for july 31st 2011

Roger loves these little candid shots of me. Here I am looking for an obscure ,but important, little book that was in our library.

Here is what I am reading today:

“”Brain cap” technology being developed at the University of Maryland allows users to turn their thoughts into motion. Associate Professor of Kinesiology José ‘Pepe’ L. Contreras-Vidal and his team have created a non-invasive, sensor-lined cap with neural interface software that soon could be used to control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorized wheelchairs and even digital avatars.”

“Couples who get to know each other before being intimate have a better chance of having a lasting relationship, but in some cases even a casual fling can lead to true love, according to a new research. Most of the 56 percent of 642 adults questioned in the study who said they had waited until they got serious before they had sex reported having a high quality relationship.”

“Brains shrink in humans, potentially causing a number of health problems and mental illnesses as people age, but do they shrink to the same extent in the closest living relatives to humans–the chimpanzees?”

“German researchers have used drivers’ brain signals, for the first time, to assist in braking, providing much quicker reaction times and a potential solution to the thousands of car accidents that are caused by human error.”

“First of all, let’s state the obvious: There are some things that good relationships just have to have — it’s no secret that without trust, honesty and attraction, you’re waging an uphill battle. And let’s not sugar-coat what we mean by “happy.” Even the most blissful of spouses get the urge to fling the occasional forkful of mashed potatoes at each other for leaving crumbs in the butter.

But all that aside, happy couples make a conscious decision to be just that: happy. And they do simple, practical things to keep the spark bright.”




July 30, 2011

the family that researches together

A fun article for the APS Observer with two of my three daughters! CLICK on the picture to read more!

Here’s part of the write up:

“This family research team – sisters Karen Freberg, Kristin Graham, and mother Laura Freberg – enjoy “dressing” for their poster presentations each year at APS Conventions. Last year, they wore Slytherin (of Harry Potter fame) shirts for their study of CEOs and psychopaths, which they referred to as the “Snakes in Suits” study. This year, they chose shirts with a military theme for their generals study, and marching across those shirts were formidable Lego soldiers. What’s in store for next year?”

APS observer article

The fun thing for all of us is that we are also teaching!

July 28, 2011

readings in psychology for july 28th 2011

Sometimes we find special fun things in a book, like a letter from the author. The Mental Hygiene movement was started by Clifford Whittingham Beers that redirected much of how we handle mental illness today.

Here is what I am reading today:

“A new study published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows just why it is that people tend to turn to fatty foods in order to boost their emotional state and reduce feelings of sadness. Be it chocolate chip cookies, French fries and a chocolate shake or whatever your favorite fatty food may be, researchers say these fatty foods create a biological change in your body to reduce the feelings of sadness.”

“It is a warm summer’s night and the sun has just crept down below the horizon, finally going to sleep. But the world is still ablaze with light, as stars twinkle overhead. And on the ground, a different kind of magic appears. Golden flecks of light flash and float around. Fairies? Maybe some of them, but most are fireflies. Catching them in jars is mean, as they don’t last long. Time to bring the magic of fireflies into your home (without inviting the Firefly Grim Reaper) with an Electronic Firefly in a Jar. “

“We’ve all heard about plastic surgery addicts — like Heidi Montag, who had 10 procedures in one day — and how they have body image problems that may be severe enough to be considered a full-blown mental illness. But how about someone who just wants a simple nose job to shave off an unsightly bump or narrow the bulbous tip?”

July 25, 2011

readings in psychology for july 25th 2011

Special thanks to my daughter Karen for her guidance with QR codes!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals and is found exclusively in people outside Africa, according to an international team of researchers led by Damian Labuda of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. The research was published in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution.”

“A new study of the brain’s master circadian clock — known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN — reveals that a key pattern of rhythmic neural activity begins to decline by middle age. The study, whose senior author is UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, may have implications for the large number of older people who have difficulty sleeping and adjusting to time changes.”

“Is your kid a “dove” — cautious and submissive when confronting new environments, or perhaps you have a “hawk” — bold and assertive in unfamiliar settings?”

“Cost and Value. A majority of Americans (57%) say the higher education system in the United States fails to provide students with good value for the money they and their families spend. An even larger majority (75%) says college is too expensive for most Americans to afford. At the same time, however, an overwhelming majority of college graduates (86%) say that college has been a good investment for them personally.”

July 23, 2011

readings in psychology for july 23rd 2011

Filed under: a current story,behavioral neuroscience — Laura Freberg @ 9:17 am
a mind that found itself

In the History of Psychology there are a few books that stand out. I am very happy to add an autographed copy of "A Mind that found itself" to my library!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Children as young as three years of age share toy rewards equally with a peer, but only when both collaborated in order to gain them. Katharina Hamann with an international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Harvard University and the Michigan State University found that sharing in children that young is a pure collaborative phenomenon: when kids received rewards not cooperatively but as a windfall, or worked individually next to one another, they kept the majority of toys for themselves. One of humans’ closest living relatives, chimpanzees, did not show this connection between sharing resources and collaborative efforts.”

“Gardeners know that some trees require regular pruning: some of their branches have to be cut so that others can grow stronger. The same is true of the developing brain: cells called microglia prune the connections between neurons, shaping how the brain is wired, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, discovered. Published online in Science, the findings could one day help understand neurodevelopmental disorders like autism.”

“Fame is the No. 1 value emphasized by television shows popular with 9- to 11-year-olds, a dramatic change over the past 10 years, UCLA psychologists report in a new study.”

“My normally serene morning routine of coffee, email, and Facebook was interrupted when my friend Marcus suddenly downgraded from “In a Relationship” to “It’s Complicated” and a stream of sympathetic well-wishes and sad-moticons began to pepper the screen. Marcus is a good guy and, like everyone else, I felt bad seeing him going through some obvious interpersonal turmoil. At the same time, I felt a little uncomfortable getting such a minute-by-minute account of his relationship woes. I had a disturbing image of Marcus, in the throes of an angry fight with his lover, marching over to Facebook and changing his status before hurling his iPad across the room.”

“Author John M. Gottman, during his research for his book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” found that the best predictor of a successful partnership was a couple’s ability to communicate effectively before commitment. Another important key to success is how well a couple deals with conflict. According to Gottman, unhappy couples are more defensive, fighting for their own point of view and neglecting to acknowledge their partner’s concerns. Going into defense limits a person’s ability to listen, which only fuels more defensiveness.”


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Quote to Ponder

It is not a lack of love,
but a lack of friendship
that makes unhappy marriages
-------- Nietzsche

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